With the New Jersey Devils in Los Angeles tonight to take on the Kings, beat writer Tom Gulitti caught up with former Devils star Scott Niedermayer, who was at the Staples Center filming a piece for his jersey retirement ceremony. On Dec. 16, the Devils will raise Niedermayer’s No. 27 to the rafters, the third number ever retired by the club (the others are Scott Stevens’ No. 4 and Ken Danekyo’s No. 3.)
On the topic of post-retirement honors, Niedermayer made one thing clear. If — okay, when — he goes to the Hockey Hall of Fame, he wants to do it as a New Jersey Devil.
“That’s where I played the bulk of my career,” Niedermayer told the Fire & Ice blog. “That’s where I learned a lot and grew as a young professional player and was able to use that later on in my career to maybe have more success. And I guess maybe as time goes by, that (feeling for being a Devil) might become stronger.
“The fact that I played out here (in California) and retire right from the Ducks, that’s sort of your recent memories and that’s sort of where you feel a part of that team. But, as time passes and you look back and the length of time that I was in New Jersey compared to the length of time I was out here, I’m comfortable saying that (he’s a Devil).”
Niedermayer played for New Jersey from 1992-2004 — winning three Stanley Cups and his lone Norris trophy — so being enshrined as a Devil is almost an afterthought. But considering the profound effect he had on the Anaheim organization upon signing there in 2005, going in as a Duck is somewhat viable. Niedermayer won a Cup and a Conn Smythe trophy with the Ducks and recorded his highest ever single-season point total (69). He also won the Cup in Anaheim with his brother, Rob, and still works as a consultant for the club.
All that said, Niedermayer will go to the HHOF as a Devil. He’s up for eligibility in 2012 in what promises to be an outstanding field — first-time eligible players include Joe Sakic, Jeremy Roenick, Mats Sundin and Brendan Shanahan.
Keith Urban sang the national anthem for Game 3. Kelly Clarkson did the honors for the Nashville Predators before Game 4. Next up: Trisha Yearwood for Game 6.
The Predators hope to close out the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, and they got off to a nice start with Austin Watson scoring a quick 1-0 goal. Not long after, the Predators added another to build to a 2-0 lead.
Garth Brooks spoiled Yearwood’s appearance a bit before the contest.
Brooks also revealed Yearwood’s early fan creds:
Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie scored a goal in Game 4, but he won’t be able to provide such a scoring boost for his team in Game 6.
That’s because he was ejected during the first period after hitting rising Nashville Predators star Viktor Arvidsson from behind, bloodying the slick Swede.
Ritchie was whistled for a game misconduct and major. Remarkably, the Ducks killed the entire five-minute power-play opportunity, with Ryan Kesler‘s shorthanded chance being one of the better opportunities for either team.
It’s still a big blunder, but if the Ducks can get back in it, remember that big kill.
Video of the hit is coming soon. For now, check out the GIF:
Oddly, Arvidsson left the ice with a wound that more or less spelled out “R,” presumably for Ritchie, maybe celebrating the return of “Twin Peaks.”
(Such an obvious move might not be surreal enough for David Lynch, though. Alex Prewitt’s Zorro reference might be more, um, on the mark.)
It was already loud at Bridgestone Arena, but the Nashville Predators are making it a madhouse with a strong start against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.
First, it was Austin Watson, who sent a puck off a Ducks skate to score a 1-0 goal on Nashville’s first shot on Jonathan Bernier, who is starting instead of John Gibson. That came about 90 seconds into the game, really revving up the crowd.
Colton Sissons scored his first goal of the Western Conference Final – on his first shot on goal of the series – to make it 2-0. At that point, Bernier had allowed two goals on three shots on goal. Bernier’s made a few stops since then, but it’s a shaky start for a Ducks team facing elimination.
There’s some solace in that Anaheim’s often at its best in dire situations, though you have to wonder how many times they can bounce back from this?
The Anaheim Ducks won’t have John Gibson back, but the Nashville Predators are dealing with some injury-related letdowns, too.
Craig Smith skated before Game 6, but he opted not to play on Monday. Mike Fisher is also unable to go for the Predators as they aim to eliminate Anaheim.
The Ducks also won’t have Rickard Rakell back in the mix, so this physical Western Conference Final continues to feel like a battle of attrition.
Click here for the official roster report.
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